Now that the turkey feathers have settled, it’s time to get back to The Hobbit! In case you’re running behind, here’s a recap: 1) Introduction, 2) Week One, 3) Week Two, and 4) Week Three. It’s been a little heady around here lately, so I thought today we might roll our sleeves up and get creative. (To skip ahead, here are links to Week Five, Finale, pt 1: Andrew Peterson’s Joyous Turn, and Finale, pt 2.) But first….
I thought that with the holidays upon us, some of you guys might be pressed for time and prefer some really special hot chocolate you could order…or perhaps give to a friend or family member. So, this week I’m referring you to Travel and Leisure Magazine’s series, America’s Best Hot Chocolate. Here you can find some of the best hot chocolate or hot cocoa restaurants in America, some with links to online stores where you can purchase your own. For instance, here’s a link to the first one on the list, Jacques Torres Chocolate.
Radio Theater Contest
And don’t forget, today is the last day to enter our radio theater contest. (Actually, if you can get it to me by Wednesday, I’ll consider that on time. I’ve never been a stickler for deadlines…) Email a recording of you or your kids reading a few pages of The Hobbit to firstname.lastname@example.org, and the winner gets a free Hank the Cowdog book as well as a free Hobbit caricature of a family member.
The Creative Stuff
Next week, Lord willing, I thought we’d end with a bang. In addition to one last interview with Jim Ware and one last big concept that was critical to Tolkien’s view of God and mythology, I’ve also invited Christian kids’ book author and singer-songwriter Andrew Peterson to join us. His website, Rabbitroom.com, is a really vibrant site among many Christian authors, songwriters, and others who have been heavily influenced by Tolkien and Lewis. One of the things I admire about the Rabbitroom is that the readers and writers there don’t just consume fiction. They find creative ways to engage the stories they read, and use that inspiration to create other really thought-provoking, inspiring things.
For instance, Justin Gerard (illustrator of R.C. Sproul’s The Prince’s Poison Cup) is one of the illustrators behind a project called The Lamp Post Guild. It’s a group of illustrators who’ve come together to help young illustrators actually make a living with their skills. Here’s a link, and here’s a video you can watch for more.
I was really excited when I found out that Justin had actually done some Hobbit drawings on his website, www.justingerard.com. If you have a kid who is interested in drawing, this is a wonderful resource to let them browse on. You can see Justin’s Hobbit illustrations here, too, which include original sketches, as well as detailed information on how he brings them from the concept stage to finished product.
Some of the images here are pretty amazing. For instance, his drawing of Smaug is something I would absolutely love to have on my wall. (And guess what, you can get it for your wall at this art print website.) But I think the most interesting thing for kids would be to see the process–what kind of research he does for his paintings, from types of swords to Tolkien’s literary inspiration.
But of course, art isn’t the only creative medium. I also found some other fun projects you could do either individually or as a family:
- Hobbit Feet: If you’re looking for a unique holiday gift for Hobbit fans (i.e. stinky or overly hairy brothers or sisters), look no further! Go here to make your own pair. Or you can buy these kinda realistic ones or these cute slippers (though currently out of stock). And if you’re feeling really goofy, whip up a batch of these Hairy Hobbit Feet Cookies. I can’t promise anyone will eat them, but it’s one of those things you can cross off your bucket list.
- Games: If you’d like to do more than just read a book together, why not play some of these family-friendly games. There are a number of board games, including Hobbit-themed Risk, Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit and more which you can read about here. There’s also a Hobbit board game, of course, and for $35 it might buy you a few laughs. There is actually an entire Lord of the Rings Lego website, which some of you might enjoy shopping within for Christmas. Or you might want to plan a Hobbit Christmas or birthday party. Some ideas here.
- Tour Middle Earth: Ok, so this one isn’t in my budget this year. But what a fun idea for Tolkien lovers, to see in person the sites made famous in Peter Jackson’s movies! For my money, I might actually prefer a visit to Tolkien’s haunts in Oxford and where he and Lewis met for their Inkling gatherings. If you can’t make it over the pond but you’d still get a thrill from seeing Tolkien’s personal things, the Wade Center in Wheaton Illinois actually has some of the best materials from Tolkien, Lewis, Dorothy Sayers and other Christian writers. You can see the wardrobe that possibly inspired Lewis’s Narnia stories and much more.
- Make a Movie: If you missed it before, we recently interviewed Thomas Purifoy of Compass Cinema. He and his team recently released a class for students which uses the history of filmmaking to teach kids how to make their own directorial debuts. Very cool resource, and one your kids could use to make their own version of The Hobbit. Apparently, the kids in the trailer below did just that, and I was so impressed, I decided to share their work below. (I think the original source for this was a Telegraph article.)
So, I’m not including discussion questions or a download this week. I hope instead that this post will inspire some of you to have fun and take the story a little farther! Next week, we’ll wrap up with our interview with Andrew Peterson, as well as one last discussion with Jim Ware about what the “One True Myth” meant to Tolkien and Lewis. See you guys then!
Any questions or insights you’d like to share about what you’ve read so far? I’d love to hear from you all!